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What Is A Hyperkinetic Movement Disorder?

Hyperkinetic movement disorder is a type of movement disorder that is characterized by unwanted and excess involuntary movement of muscles with reduced voluntary movements.1 It is more common in children who have neurological disorders like cerebral palsy. It is associated with dysfunction of parts of the brain like basal ganglion, cerebral cortex, cerebellum, and nerve pathways. Its causes are injuries to the brain due to congenital, acquired and degenerative diseases. Its types include ataxia, chorea, dystonia, Huntington’s disease, myoclonus, and others.

What Is A Hyperkinetic Movement Disorder?

Hyperkinetic movement disorder refers to a condition that has both excessive involuntary movement and deficient voluntary movements at the same time in a person. It affects children more than adults who have neurological diseases. It is caused by brain injury, congenital diseases, acquired and degenerative disorders. It is accompanied by dysfunction of brain parts like cerebrum, cerebellum, etc.

Types Of Hyperkinetic Movement Disorder

Ataxia– it is a disorder that disrupts the balance and control of muscles functioning for walking, running and other activities related to locomotion.2 It affects posture and coordination of muscles leading to staggered gait. It is characterized by poor coordination of eyes and limbs with speech problems. Alcohol consumption is the main cause of this disorder. Other causes are a stroke, injury, infection, degenerative disorders.

Chorea– it is a type of involuntary movement disorder that has an irregular, purposeless and unpredictable course.3 It can appear in any part of the body. It can pass from one part to another. The patient often displays fidgety followed by chorea followed by purposeful movements.

Myoclonus– Myoclonus is a movement disorder characterized by sudden and brief involuntary movements. It can be positive and negative. Positive myoclonus occurs due to a sudden increase in muscle contractions. Negative myoclonus happens due to a sudden loss of muscle contraction. It cannot be reduced or suppressed and can happen in any part of the body.

Dystonia– it is a movement disorder that is characterized by sustained contraction and spasm of the muscles. It causes twisting and repetitive movement of the muscles with abnormal postures. It usually involves a single part of the body like eyelids, hands, face, and mouth. It may get generalized and involve the whole body.

Tremor– tremor is characterized by shaking of the muscles of a single part or two or more parts. It is one of the common types of hyperkinetic movement disorder. It usually involves the hands and feet of the body. In rare cases, it affects the head and tongue. The person develops disabilities that hinder him to perform simple activities of day to day life like holding a cup or writing, etc. Anxiety stress, fatigue, alcohol consumption, and intake of caffeine can trigger tremors.

Tics Or Tourette’s Syndrome– tic is a stereotype movement disorder that appears in the same involuntary muscles again and again in a similar pattern. It affects head, face, eyes, mouth, neck or shoulder. It can involve motor or vocal actions. It becomes worse with time more when the patient is in stress. When both vocal and motor tics remain in the body for more than a year, then, this syndrome is called Tourette syndrome.

Huntington’s Disease– it is a hereditary disease that causes slow and progressive degeneration of the brain cells. It is represented by symptoms of chorea (involuntary movements). It develops at a slow pace but progresses to severe symptoms in a few years. This disorder affects a person’s ability to think, talk, walk, and reason. There is no known cure for this condition. Its treatment is focused on the delay of the complications and progression of the disease to improve the quality of life.


Hyperkinetic movement disorder is a group of movement disorders in which excessive involuntary movements and reduced voluntary movements appear at the same time. It is seen more commonly in children who have neurological disorders like cerebral palsy. It is caused due to malfunction or dysfunction of the brain.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 20, 2019

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